The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community
The EU INSPIRE Directive:An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community– A briefing document and discussion of implications for UK academiaAuthor: James Reid, EDINA National Data CentreDate: June 2011Status: PUBLICVersion: 2.1 [draft]
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community What is INSPIRE? Comments1 The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the Community (INSPIRE), published The INSPIRE Directive was published in The Official by the European Commission in July 2004 and made a Directive of the European Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in April 2007 and is Parliament and of the Council in 14 March 2007, is an initiative to create entitled ‘Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament a pan European Spatial Data Infrastructure. Its intention is to improve the and of the Council of 14 March 2007 establishing an interoperability of spatial information across the European Union at a local, Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European regional, national and international level. In doing so it aims to facilitate Community (INSPIRE)’, the ‘INSPIRE Directive’ for short. improvements in the sharing of spatial information between public authorities and provide improved public access to spatial information. The INSPIRE Regulations were enacted into UK law (separtely for Scotland, England & wales & N.Ireland) in December 2009, effective as of 31st December 2009. • INSPIRE lays down a general framework for a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) A Spatial Data Infrastructure or SDI is a framework for the purposes of Community environmental policies and policies or activities of spatial data, metadata, users and tools that are which may have an impact on the environment. interactively connected in order to use spatial data in an efficient and flexible way. Another definition is the “technology, policies, standards, human resources, and related activities necessary to acquire, process, distribute, use, maintain, and preserve spatial data”. It is intended for use in environmental policy making in the first instance, with the intention that it be extended wider. • INSPIRE is based on an infrastructure for spatial information established and While most of the EU member states have SDIs initiatives operated by the Member States. underway very few have operational national SDIs • INSPIRE does not require collection of new spatial data2. although various components of SDIs are definitely in place or being1 Any text shown in Italics is a direct quote from either the Directive or related Commission documents.2 However it does require that two years after adoption of the relevant Data Specifications each Member State should ensure that all newly collected spatial data sets covered by the Annexes (see Appendix) are made available in conformity with the supporting Implementing Rules. Existing data sets must conform to the Rules within seven years of their adoption.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat is INSPIRE? Comments1• INSPIRE does not affect existing Intellectual Property Rights. developed. The most referenced SDI in Europe is that• Data interoperability and data sharing are prime objectives. of North Rhine Westphalia in Germany but this is a sub- member state SDI. Most SDI initiatives are building SDI’s from the bottom up. The financing of the construction of SDIs is a major issue. INSPIRE was enacted into UK Law December 2009. Regulatory details are contained in a set of Implementing Rules (IR) that are being drafted. UK plans for the implementation of INSPIRE are included in the UK Location Programme (UK LP) under the auspices of the UK Location Council (UK LC). The UK LP is implimenting that UK SDI and will susume repsonsibility for ensuring conformance with the INSPIRE regulations. Note that the UK LP’s scope is broader than INSPIRE (in terms of focus on a broader range of spatial data) although the initial focus (2009-2012) will be on ensuring compliance with INSPIRE requirements.The guiding principles of INSPIRE are:• that the infrastructures for spatial information in the Member States should be designed to ensure that spatial data are stored, made available and maintained at the most appropriate level;• that it is possible to combine spatial data from different sources (harmonised data) across the Community in a consistent way and share them between users and applications;• that it is possible for spatial data collected at one level of public authority to be shared between all the different levels of public authorities;• that spatial data are made available under conditions that do not restrict their extensive use;• that it is easy to discover available spatial data, to evaluate their fitness for purpose and to know the conditions applicable to their use.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat did INSPIRE come from?The initial motivation for creating a spatial information infrastructure was tobe better able to formulate, implement and monitor European environmentalpolicies, bearing in mind the costs and upheaval related to cross borderenvironmental impacts and the changing climate. This environmental orientationis still very much a driving force in the Directive and explains the inclusion of allthe data sets listed in the Appendix at the end of this document.To manage the environment effectively, the EU needs the better provision ofspatial data to support environmental policy making, better spatial data flowsbetween systems to support these policies and better sharing of this databetween governments, agencies and the citizen.Historically, Europe has had a lack of standards for the provision of spatial dataand no pan-EU Directives for sharing or coordinating their use.What will it mean?The Directive creates the framework for spatial information to be collected,stored, manipulated and made available in a more standardised electronicenvironment to facilitate the sharing of information.When fully implemented it will, theoretically, enable data from one MemberState to be seamlessly combined cross-border with data from all other States.This is particularly important for activities relating to the environment such asplanning, pollution control, environmental protection and climate change issues.Although the INSPIRE Directive does not directly refer to e-Government, it willpotentially establish one of the most powerful set of pan European government(i.e. public) electronic services. It will also be one of the largest datainfrastructures providing access to a huge range of (spatial) data on a nationaland pan European scale.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWho will be the users of INSPIRE?Governments at all levels (EU, National, Regional and Local) will be major usersof the infrastructure for policy-making, implementation and monitoring.It is expected that businesses will exploit the information for commercial useand as part of services that they supply to the public sector.Academics and researchers (see below).The Public will make more and more use of spatial information, especiallythrough the viewing services, as will non-governmental and communityorganisations.What and whose Spatial Data?The Directive applies to spatial data held by or on behalf of public authorities. Spatial data is defined as data with a direct (e.g. grid‘public authority’ means: coordinates) or indirect reference (e.g. place name,(a) any government or other public administration, including public advisory postcode) to a specific location or geographic area. Thisbodies, at national, regional or local level; is a wider scope than is normal in most SDIs to date.(b) any natural or legal person performing public administrative functions undernational law, including specific duties, activities or services in relation to the UK Universities are considered to be a public authorityenvironment; and in the context of the implementation of the Directive(c) any natural or legal person having public responsibilities or functions, or as the INSPIRE Regulations adopted the definition of ‘providing public services relating to the environment under the control of a public authority’ used in the Freedom of Informationbody or person falling within (a) or (b). (Article 3.9) (FoI) legislation. In practice, as UK HFE is subject to FoI regulations, it is subject to INSPIRE.The Directive covers spatial data sets which fulfil the following conditions:(a) they relate to an area where a Member State has and/or exercisesjurisdictional rights;(b) they are in electronic format;
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community What and whose Spatial Data? (c) they are held by or on behalf of any of the following: Article 12 states (i) a public authority, having been produced or received by a public authority, Member States shall ensure that public authorities are or being managed or updated by that authority and falling within the scope of given the technical possibility to link their spatial data its public tasks; sets and services to the network referred to in Article (ii) a third party to whom the network has been made available in accordance 11(1) i.e. the infrastructure. with Article 12; (d) they relate to one or more of the themes listed in Annex I, II or III. (Article It goes on to to say: 4.2) This service shall also be made available upon request to third parties whose spatial data sets and services comply with implementing rules [explained below] laying down obligations with regard, in particular, to metadata, network services and interoperability. The Commission has consistently argued that it is a fundamental right for third parties to have access to the member state and pan European infrastructures3 . This means that the infrastructure should be available to, say, a UK academic spatial data infrastructure (as both consumer and supplier), providing academic data sets and services comply with the implementing rules. The same document later states “Public authorities – affected by the INSPIRE Directive- have an ‘obligation’ to become part of the ‘network’, whereas third parties can make a ‘request’ to be part of it. Such a request shall be granted if the third party can meet the INSPIRE requirements.”3 Report of the workshop on the Legislative Transposition of the INSPIRE Directive 2007/2/EC, 17 April 2008.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat and whose Spatial Data?In cases where multiple identical copies of the same spatial data set are held by This is an important clause. It means that, for example,or on behalf of various public authorities, this Directive shall apply only to the EDINA would (should) not be asked by the UK Governmentreference version from which the various copies are derived. (Article 4.2) to provide access to its copies of the Ordnance Survey data or hydrographic data etc. because our copies are copies of the reference version, not the reference versions themselves. However, it is not clear whether, if EDINA (or Mimas) derived a product from these data, we would be required to make this derived version available. Note that at time of writing, the UK LP (and by implication the pracitcal manifestation of INSPIRE), has no definitive position on resolving the ‘golden copy’ issue, instead leaving it data providers to determine amongst themselves which versions they regard as authoritative. Whilst a pragmatic approach in a situation where there is no governance structure in place to impose authoritative ruling, this potentially means that multiple versions of the same (or similar) datasets can/ may (and likely will) exist.INSPIRE covers 34 Spatial Data Themes laid down in 3 Annexes (Annex I, II or Although the datasets have an environmental bias, theIII) (see end of this document). inclusion of the critical underlying geographic reference information means that they will be useful across manyThe environment will be the first area to be covered but INSPIRE will academic disciplines. The data are key reference dataeventually extend to other themes such as agriculture and transport. sets for research and teaching.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat are the elements of INSPIRE?The INSPIRE Directive defines the technical elements of an infrastructure forspatial information to be comprised of “metadata, spatial data sets and spatialdata services, network services and technologies; agreements on sharing, accessand use; coordination and monitoring mechanisms, processes and procedures”(INSPIRE Directive Article 3.1).It is very important to understand that in INSPIRE ALL access to spatial data andmetadata occurs via spatial data services and that the implementation platformfor these services will be standards based web services.The Directive requires thatMember States shall establish and operate a network of the following servicesfor the spatial data sets and services for which metadata have been created inaccordance with this Directive:(a) discovery services making it possible to search for spatial data sets andservices on the basis of the content of the corresponding metadata and todisplay the content of the metadata;(b) view services making it possible, as a minimum, to display, navigate,zoom in/out, pan, or overlay viewable spatial data sets and to display legendinformation and any relevant content of metadata; [i.e. to view the data asmaps and other types of visualisations](c) download services, enabling copies of spatial data sets, or parts of such sets,to be downloaded and, where practicable, accessed directly;(d) transformation services, enabling spatial data sets to be transformed with aview to achieving interoperability;
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat and whose Spatial Data?Data product specifications will be created for each theme, starting with those A data product specification is a detailed descriptionin Annex 1. of a data set together with additional information that will enable it to be created, supplied to and used byData and metadata published for INSPIRE must meet INSPIRE metadata and data another party [ISO 19131]. Harmonised data productinteroperability standards. specifications, are a set of data product specifications that support the provision of access to interoperable spatial data through spatial data services in a representation that allows for combining it with other interoperable data in a coherent way, e.g. combining data across themes or across borders. The curent list of Data Product Specifications can be found at: http://inspire.jrc.ec.europa.eu/index.cfm/pageid/6/ init/1?category=3It is important to realise that INSPIRE is very much about interoperability and, asfar is practicable, harmonisation of spatial data sets and services within Europe,not just access to data.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat are the elements of INSPIRE?The INSPIRE Directive defines the technical elements of an infrastructure for This in essence is the definition of an SDI. Sometimesspatial information to be comprised of “metadata, spatial data sets and spatial refreed to as an Information Infsratructure (as in the UKdata services, network services and technologies; agreements on sharing, access LP’s UK Location Information Infrastrcuture (UKLII)).and use; coordination and monitoring mechanisms, processes and procedures”(INSPIRE Directive Article 3.1).It is very important to understand that in INSPIRE ALL access to spatial data and This is very different to, say, FOI or EIR, wheremetadata occurs via spatial data services and that the implementation platform information is provided by public authorities, in responsefor these services will be standards based web services. to requests for information, as written responses in either letters or emails.The Directive requires thatMember States shall establish and operate a network of the following services What this does not make very clear is the critical role offor the spatial data sets and services for which metadata have been created in Transformation Services (d). The Directive states thataccordance with this Directive: Spatial data sets shall be made available in conformity(a) discovery services making it possible to search for spatial data sets and with the implementing rules either through theservices on the basis of the content of the corresponding metadata and to adaptation of existing spatial data sets or through thedisplay the content of the metadata; transformation services referred to point (d) of Article 11(1).(b) view services making it possible, as a minimum, to display, navigate,zoom in/out, pan, or overlay viewable spatial data sets and to display legend Originally it was thought that Transformation Servicesinformation and any relevant content of metadata; [i.e. to view the data as would provide services for coordinate transformation i.e.maps and other types of visualisations] transform the data from one spatial reference system to another. However, it has become clear that, because(c) download services, enabling copies of spatial data sets, or parts of such sets, the Directive does not require a data producing or datato be downloaded and, where practicable, accessed directly; custodian organisation to adapt their data production workflows, the only way data harmonisation will be achieved, for the majority of existing data sets which will have their own conceptual schemas, will be through the deployment of transformation services that can take the data and transform it from one (local) schema to that defined by the data product specification for that theme.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat are the elements of INSPIRE?(d) transformation services, enabling spatial data sets to be transformed with a That is, it is schema transformation services that are toview to achieving interoperability; be used to oproduce the data harmonisation that will lead to a pan-European, interoperable infrastructure.(e) services allowing spatial data services to be invoked. Invoke Spatial Service Services, amongst other things,(Article 11). refers to the ability to invoke other services e.g. to chain services together through web service orchestration engines a.k.a. “workflow engine”.An INSPIRE Technical Architecture has been developed (see overview diagram atthe end of this document) which follows SOA principles.In addition to the service types requested by the Directive, further services are INSPIRE maintains it sown registry (the UK LP isneeded to run the infrastructure. A key service type is registries. consodering maintaining a supplmentray UK specifc registry to mange UK-centric concepts). The INSPIREINSPIRE GeoRM services are also proposed to manage the different kinds of Registry is used for the development of the INSPIRErights (legal, business contracts, access) between applications and the INSPIRE Implementing Rules by the INSPIRE Drafting Teams,infrastructure. Examples of GeoRM service functions are authentication, Thematic Working Groups for data specifications forauthorization, pricing, billing and licensing. Current (June 2010) practices on the testing of the draft data specifications, and othersecurity/GeoRM is reviewed here:http://inspire.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/ participants in the consultation process. As such, theNetwork_Services/geoRM-BE.pdf Registry does not represent a final consolidated version and the content, functionality and access are subject to change to capture the development of the INSPIRE Implementing Rules. Currently the INSPIRE registry contains the INSPIRE Glossary and Feature Concept Dictionary registers which are part of the ongoing process of the INSPIRE Implementing Rules development and built upon the data specification development framework requirements and recommendations. The main goals of the current registers are:
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat are the elements of INSPIRE? 1.to start building the INSPIRE Glossary and the INSPIRE Feature Concept Dictionary with the currently available information, and 2.to allow their immediate use in the INSPIRE Implementing Rules and data specifications development. The INSPIRE Glossary and Feature Concept Dictionary are maintained as an ISO 19135 (Procedures for item registration) conformant register. The INSPIRE registry is available for public view. Registered users however, involved in the INSPIRE Implementing Rules development, have access to additional functionality.Accompanying the Directive will be a series of technical Implementing Rules (IRs) The most recent (at June 2010) of the IRs are:on metadata; data product specifications; network services; data and servicesharing; and monitoring and reporting. Metadata INSPIRE Metadata Implementing Rules: Technical Guidelines based on EN ISO 19115 and EN ISO 19119 (Version 1.2) 16.06.2010 Data Specifications INSPIRE Data Specifications on Addresses - Guidelines v 3.0.1 03.05.2010 • INSPIRE Data Specification on Protected Sites - Guidelines v 3.1.0 03.05.2010 • INSPIRE Data Specification on Administrative Units - Guidelines v3.0.1 03.05.2010 • INSPIRE Data Specification on Cadastral Parcels - Guidelines v 3.0.1 03.05.2010 • INSPIRE Specification on Geographical Grid Systems - Guidelines v 3.0.1 03.05.2010
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat are the elements of INSPIRE? • INSPIRE Data Specification on Hydrography - Guidelines v 3.0.1 03.05.2010 • INSPIRE Data Specification on Transport Networks - Guidelines v 3.1 03.05.2010 • INSPIRE Specification on Coordinate Reference Systems - Guidelines v 3.1 03.05.2010 • INSPIRE Data Specification on Geographical Names - Guidelines v 3.0.1 03.05.2010 Network Services • Draft Implementing Rules for Download Services (Version 3.0) 25/09/2009 • Draft Implementing Rules for INSPIRE Transformation Services (Version 3.0) 07/09/2009 Data and service sharing Legislation • Regulation on INSPIRE Data and Service Sharing 29.03.2010 Guidance Documents • INSPIRE Good practice in data and service sharing 01.06.2010
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat is its current status?The Directive identifies what needs to be achieved. It was adopted on the 15th See http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_20093157_May 2007 and enacted into UK law as the INSPIRE Regulations on 31st December en_12009. To ensure that the spatial data infrastructures of the Member States are andcompatible and usable in a Community and transboundary context, the Directive http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/ssi2009/requires that common Implementing Rules (IR) are adopted in a number of ssi_20090440_en_1specific areas. There are very few academics involved in SDICS. TheImplementing Rules are adopted as Commission Decisions, and are binding in University of Münster, Germany, and the Institute fortheir entirety. The Commission is assisted in the process of adopting such rules Photogrammetry, University of Stuttgart are SDICs inby a regulatory committee composed by representatives of the Member States their own right, while the University of Freiburg is a LMO.and European Parliament. The committee is chaired by a representative of the AGILE, a pan European association for university basedCommission (this is known as the Comitology procedure). The committee was geographic information laboratories is a registered SDIC,established within three months from the entry in force of the Directive. but its engagement to date has been limited.Implementing Rules will be adopted in a phased manner with compliance EDINA is a registered SDIC.required between 2010 and 2019. It is expected that the infrastructure will befully in place by 2019/20. As far as we can tell, there is no other UK academic representation in the UK SDICs or LMOs. (National SoilFive Drafting Teams (metadata, data specifications, network services, data and Resources Institute, at Cranfield University, is a SDIC butservice sharing, monitoring and reporting) were established and are working on this is because soils appear in Annex III.)the development of the IRs. These teams are comprised of international expertsand include some academics.Participation in the drafting of these rules was open to organisations with aninterest and could be at different levels. They can propose to organise or bepart of a community with interests in spatial data for particular uses (SpatialData Interest Communities – SDICs); they can register as a legally mandatedorganisation (LMO); they can propose experts to participate in drafting teamsworking on the preparation of the detailed implementing rules. A number of UKorganisations registered to be SDICS and LMOs.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat is happening in the UK?The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the UKpolicy lead department on INSPIRE via the UK Location Programme.UK Locationis a UK pan-government initiative to improve the sharing and re-use of publicsector location information.Established following the publication of the UKLocation Strategy, it incorporates the implementation of the strategy INSOIRE.Coordination is through the Location Council and its associated committes andworking groups omn which Universities are represented (see below).The UK Location blueprint is a high level vision for implementation and, inessence, provides a policy framework to guide implementation. It was developedwith stakeholders from the INSPIRE Working Group and UK based members of theImplementing Rule Drafting Teams.Each data provider will be responsible for making its “INSPIRE” data available vianetwork services (discovery, view, download, transformation and invoke spatialdata services). Data providers will be responsible for the costs of ensuring theirdata complies with the INSPIRE metadata and data interoperability standards andmaking their data available via network services.Implementation of INSPIRE in the UK will deliver a step change in datamanagement, data interoperability and data sharing across the public sector.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWill we have to pay to access and use the data?“Member States should …make available, as a minimum and free of charge,the services for discovering and, subject to certain specific conditions, viewing Where charging occurs, it is at the public authority level,spatial data sets.” not at the point of use.Initially, the Directive obliged all EC Governments to make the data available Researchers could find themselves in the strange positionfree to all public sector bodies. It also guaranteed the right of the public to of getting data free from one country but paying for aview this data for free. However, a small number of member state governments, similar type of data in another country.including the UK Government, objected to providing free access to theinformation and so amendments were made making the data subject to charges,if fees would normally have been levied.Therefore, under the current wording of the Directive, access to the data andthe right to republish it are not free of cost. Even view services can be chargedfor.“Public authorities may license and/or charge other public authorities and Community institutions provided that:• It is compatible with the objective to facilitate sharing between public authorities.• It is restricted to the minimum necessary to ensure sustained availability and quality of the data and services.”Ideally therefore, public authorities would just recover their marginal costs.There are many lobby groups seeking to amend the Directive to secure free-of-cost geospatial data but at this stage it looks unlikely that this will be achieved.Organisations, such as Ordnance Survey, have played a central role in pressing toretain charging for data and, in turn, their commercial position.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community Will we have to pay to access and use the data? Interestingly, the commission stated in April that free public access for discovery and view (through network services), was not just limited to only those data sets covered by the INSPIRE Directive Annexes I, II, III which are classified as “environmental information”, but “shall be granted (taking account of eventual derogations and emissions related obligations) to all data sets falling under the scope of the INSPIRE Directive”4. The IR on Data and Service Sharing proposes 3 types of model licences: a Basic In the UK, the aim is for data licensing/charging policy INSPIRE Licence, a Specific INSPIRE Licence and a Framework INSPIRE Agreement. to be simplified/streamlined to support data sharing. According to the Defra INSPIRE implementation blueprint The “basic INSPIRE licence” is an agreement on the basis of which access to the (v4 Nov 2009). spatial data sets and services to Community Institutions and Bodies is provided without any further restrictions or conditions. Current licensing models and initiatives that will be supported by the Rights Management Architecture The Specific INSPIRE Licence takes the form of a Model Licence to be completed and customized in relation to the access to a particular data set or service. include: A framework INSPIRE agreement is an upstream agreement concluded between a Community Institution or Body and one or more public authorities or Member • the Office of Public Sector Information‟s (OPSI) Click- States, possibly regarding multiple datasets or services. Use licensing framework (including Information Fair Trader Scheme accreditation); • INSPIRE implementing rules for governing access and rights of use of spatial data sets and services ; and • the Atlantis Initiative‟s Pricing & Licensing Task Force‟s work developing standardised Public Body Licensing Principles.4 Report of the workshop on the Legislative Transposition of the INSPIRE Directive 2007/2/EC, 17 April 2008.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWill we have to pay to access and use the data? The Rights Management Architecture will build on key aspects of the above licensing models and initiatives in order to work towards the harmonised sharing of data among public sector bodies (and preferably all data providers). The Rights Management Architecture will seek to address derivative or residual rights in products produced from original source data. Where necessary, data providers may continue to use a licensing model based on their specific terms of access and use. A streamlined licence framework will be designed to protect copyright and/or database rights, but to facilitate re-use under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations. The licencing model wil utilise existing licence models developed by OPSI.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat are the general problems we should know about?Recall that INSPIRE is supposed to be built on Member State SDIs. However, Defra has been given the role to lead the transposition 1) the UK does not currently have a formal, integrated SDI although existing but questions have been raised about whether they wereinitiatives could potentially contribute to an SDI; the right organisation.2) creating an SDI requires a GI strategy and again, the UK does not currentlyhave one (more on this below); The swelling interest in data.gov.uk has lead to a decision3) implementing a strategy requires governance and co-ordination but no single by the Location Council to integrate the activities ofUK Government department has the lead on geospatial information. the UKLP with data.gov.uk in order to set location information within the wider context of Public Sector Information. This poses some risks as the intersection of the two initiatives is still ill-defined and culturally are somehat antagonistic. A recent ‘gateway’ review by the Office of governmet Computing notes that ‘The Programme is at a pivotal point in its lifecycle. ‘ It further noted that as a matter of urgency governence and stakeholder engagemnet needed to be addressed. At time of writing a new governance structure is being proposed that will delineate the new roles and reposnsibilities between Defra, the Cabinet Office (which is assuming a broader data publisihing remit enshrined in data.gov.uk) and the Ordnance Survey (which has been tasked by government to undertake key implementation work).
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community What are the general problems we should know about? The implementation of INSPIRE within the UK is to be done under the governance In June 2006, the UK GI Panel5 announced that it of the UK Location Strategy. Thus the Location Strategy is the vehicle for had commissioned the consultancy Know Edge Ltd to implementing both INSPIRE and the UK SDI. undertake the research work to develop a GI Strategy. After lengthy consultation, Place Matters: The Location The involvement of higher education in the Location strategy was minimal. Strategy for the United Kingdom was submitted to Indeed, it is reported that the geospatial data needs of the academic sector Baroness Andrews, Minister responsible for the GI Panel were out of scope for the strategy. in October 2007. Very few people saw the final document before submission. Baroness Andrews then reviewed the Strategy and on 17 December 2007 said that she hoped to be able to publish the Strategy “in a few weeks time”. The rpeort was finally published on 25th November 2008. Only 4 academics contributed to the Location Strategy. However, none of the academics were consulted with respect to academia, rather with respect to their area of expertise (e.g. policy, technical knowledge). There is no academic representation on the GI Panel. (“Even the GI Panel themselves comment that there’s no academic representation --and that they have no plans to change this…”6.) In the UK, a Location Council was set up (replacing the GI Panel) which acts as the governing body for both the UK Location Strategy and INSPIRE. The Location Council is led by Defra.5 The GI Panel was formed by the UK Government to focus on medium to long term issues relating to geographic information, encourage more effective, extensive and systematic use of geographic information and provide regular short reports to Ministers. Membership of the panel was intended to ensure broad representation of key interest groups in government, the private sector and the wider Geographic Information industry across the United Kingdom.6 Reported in a presentation by Michael J McCullagh “GI Standards in the UK: A Personal View”, Dec 2006.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityWhat are the general problems we should know about? In September 2008, Defra wrote at a ministerial level to DIUS, amongst other departments, to ask for its support for the Location Strategy, with a request for financial support in order to get a seat a seat on the Council. DIUS had some reservations. EDINA and JISC worked to persuade DIUS of the importance of the UK SDI for UK academia. Ultimately a shortfall in fibnacial contributions towards implementation of the Stratgey led to the situation where sector inoput provided ‘in-kind’ contribution to the UKLP. The Research Councils now have a representative on the Location Council (Richard Hughes, Nerc, BGS) and representation on the Location Information Interoperability Board (LIIB). The latter body now (after JISC petitioning) also has a seat on the LIIB. Contributions are voluntary and unpaid (although the core UKLP has its own internal finances for maintaining a core staff and scretariat).Concern has been expressed in the past at the ‘top down’ nature of the current The first UK Location User Group was held in May 2010process in UK believing it would be better if more ‘bottom up’ involvement could with the next scheduled for Spetmber. The LUG formsbe encouraged. Much of the focus has been on the providers of data to the SDI. one aspect of the UKLP commincatiosn strategy whichThere appears to have been very little consultation with end users. includes roadshows, Newsletters and advice and support to Early Adopters.There is also concern about the maturity, stability or direct applicability ofthe International standards and specifications under consideration. It has been The immaturity of some of the IRs and issues unearthedproposed that the Network Services implementing rules define the expected as part of initial attempts at implementation have ledfunctionality of services as independent as possible from technological progress, to a raft of revisions to technical gudiance documentsgeneric enough to adapt to a changing environment, and therefore ensure their and in some areas (specifcally, the Metadata guidelines)long term fitness for purpose. fundamental issues with the standards will need to be addressed ‘prgamatically’ at MS level.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community What has been the involvement of universities in general in INSPIRE. Nether research or education is explicitly mentioned in the Directive. However, The UK is dealt with specifically below. But, in summary, the benefits to universities was recognised in the original proposal for the we conclude that academia should be a key stakeholder Directive which stated “other user groups are also expected to benefit, including in the UK SDI and INSPIRE, possibly as data contributors, the private sector, universities, researchers and the media” (p.3)7. but most certainly as users. Universities are only indirectly mentioned in the work plan for the implementation with respect to awareness raising, capacity building and change of management practices, and support to education and training initiatives related to INSPIRE. There are no special Spatial Data Interest Communities (aside from EDINA) related to education and there are very few people involved from the educational sector in the technical development of the Implementation Rules. In part this reflects the fact that there was no financial support from the commission. It is unfortunately the case that in the majority of member state SDIs there are very few cases where consideration of research and education has been an explicit part of the SDI process. What will it mean? Whilst academic establishments such as universities are covered by the definition of public authority it is unlikely that much of the geospatial data they hold would come under INSPIRE in the first instance. Geospatial data sets held by the research councils are more likely to come under INSPIRE. However, there are two caveats to this. First, as the focus shifts from the data in Data curation is poorly practised by other public the first two annexes to the third, it is possible that data held within universities authorities so it is possible that the only copies of earlier might come within scope e.g. species distribution, habitats, atmospheric versions of certain geospatial data sets are held by conditions. Second, studies of environmental change require an understanding of academic researchers. how phenomena change over time. This requires access to historic data and7 Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing an infrastructure for spatial information in the Community (INSPIRE) SEC(2004) 980.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community What will it mean? earlier editions of data which may be held only by universities (or rather researchers and research teams within universities). In both cases, Universities will be required to make these data available. As the Commission stated “Whether or not a data set falls under the INSPIRE obligations does not depend on the scale, the specificity of the data sets, or the level of government involved in their management. When the data sets, at any level of government, are relevant for developing, implementing or monitoring laws or regulations which may have an impact on the environment, INSPIRE obligations should apply. Such conditions could equally apply to data sets collected by a research project activity as the INSPIRE Directive makes no distinction between ‘operational’ and ‘research’ data sets. INSPIRE could be considered a positive incentive to safeguard valuable research data sets after the ending of a project.” 8. The Commission also stated in April 2008 that it is “a fundamental right of third parties to enrich the European Spatial Data Infrastructure with data sets currently hidden or difficult to find”. What does it mean for Universities and Colleges as Users? Academics and researchers in a wide range of fields are likely to benefit directly by easier access to data facilitated by the Directive. Over the last decade, the vast majority of collection development expenditure by JISC and the research councils has focused on the UK and on core reference data sets. Much UK research and teaching is about places outside the UK. Researchers can face real difficultly in getting access to geospatial data in other countries, particularly Europe. The ability to make seamless connections across the wide range of data types and thematic areas will, as well as reducing the barriers to accessing data, will also open up new opportunities for understanding all kinds of change processes and enable national and international comparisons. The establishment of national SDIs, which together will form the European SDI, will further facilitate improved access to spatial data at a national level too. This is particularly important within the UK, where access has been particularly problematic.8 Report of the workshop on the Legislative Transposition of the INSPIRE Directive 2007/2/EC, 17 April 2008.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityAre there other roles for UK academia?The UK academic sector can make a significant contribution to the EDINA is one of the leaders in the area of geospatialimplementation of the UK SDI and INSPIRE in general in the following ways services in the UK; and much of its work is relevant to the implementation of INSPIRE. For example,• through the knowledge and expertise it has in providing on-line geospatial EDINA’s work on catalogues and registries (data and services (from MIMAS and EDINA specifically but also JISC in general) and data web services), its community profile of ISO 19115 for management practices, academia, the online metadata tool for creating 19115• through its involvement with the standards bodies and projects conducted in metadata (GeoDoc), its use of open geospatial standards the use of open geospatial standards, in its services.• its awareness of the latest research through academics who are working in the field of geomatics, With respect to INSPIRE more generally, EDINA is Chair of• with respect to awareness raising, the UKLP Metadata Working Group and has representation• capacity building (e.g. the sharing of the practical knowledge that has been on the LIIB and various other WGs. It has developed the gained through the R&D that has been conducted on e-infrastructures and Scottish Discovery Metdata Portal (now a UK LP Pilot) GRID), and has provided Ordnance Survey with the software• through the provision of web processing services, customisations to the open source software being• its expertise in access management e.g. the UK Access Management Federation adopted by UKLP in order to bootstrap OS’s obligations and SDSS, and under INSPIRE.• support for education and training.The need for training of the GI community to implement (components of) INSPIREhas already been indentified and is something that academia could provide.Likewise there is a need to train the end-users of spatial data and relatedinformation.Key to implementing INSPIRE over the coming years will be skills development,both among geographic professionals and other professional groups who usespatial information or support its use.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityFinally, what are some of the issues we should be concernedabout from UK academia’s view point?• Representation and engagementWhilst academic involvement with the UKLP and INSPIRE has improved since2008 with represnettaion on the location council (research) and the uivneristysector on the LIIB, broader engagement by the wider academic sector remianspiecemeal and lacks coherence. The potential for a coordinating group underthe auspi ces of GWG could be explored providing an awareness rasing and selh-help ethos towards wider readiness within the sector for dealing with INSPIREobligations.• Impact on JISC servicesThere is the potential for the UK SDI to impact on the services currently fundedby JISC, particularly where data currently provided by, for example Digimap,becomes available from another public authority or from an organisation onbehalf of a public authority e.g. Ordnance Survey, UK Hydrographic Office. Forexample, OS might stand up a set of view and data download services. Thisneeds further consideration, not least it is important for us to understand theposition of academia with respect to INSPIRE as it relates to charging.On the other hand, and as mentioned above, the Commission has made it clearthat they see it as a fundamental right for third parties to have access to themember state and pan European infrastructures. This means that the UK SDI,and other infrastructures making up the European SDI should be available to aUK academic spatial infrastructure, making a large number of geospatial datasets available for research and use in education. Indeed, the UK academic spatialdata infrastructure might be a part of a European wide academic spatial datainfrastructure.
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityLinks to relevant documents and web sitesThe INSPIRE Directivehttp://www.ec-gis.org/inspire/Directive/l_10820070425en00010014.pdfProposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an infrastructure for spatial information in theCommunity (INSPIRE)http://www.ec-gis.org/inspire/proposal/EN.pdfThe European INSPIRE Portal at JRChttp://inspire.jrc.itINSPIRE in the UK – Intra-governmental Group on Geographic Information (IGGI)http://www.iggi.gov.uk/initiatives.php (Click on Green Arrow to display INSPIRE related information)
The EU INSPIRE Directive: An Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European CommunityINSPIRE Spatial Data ScopeAnnex I Annex III1. Coordinate reference systems 1. Statistical units2. Geographical grid systems 2. Buildings3. Geographical names 3. Soil4. Administrative units 4. Land use5. Addresses 5. Human health and safety6. Cadastral parcels 6. Utility and governmental services7. Transport networks 7. Environmental monitoring facilities8. Hydrography 8. Production and industrial facilities9. Protected sites 9. Agricultural and aquaculture facilities 10. Population distribution –demographyAnnex II 11. Area management/restriction/regulation zones & reporting units1. Elevation 12. Natural risk zones2. Land cover 13. Atmospheric conditions3. Identifiers of properties 14. Meteorological geographical features4. Ortho-imagery (Aerial Photography) 15. Oceanographic geographical features5. Geology 16. Sea regions 17. Bio-geographical regions 18. Habitats and biotopes 19. Species distribution 20. Energy Resources 21. Mineral resources